Discerning What’s in Your Control – And What Isn’t

In a recent client meeting we were assessing response to several of their omni-channel marketing campaigns. Some of the performance drivers were more obvious than others, and the conversation quickly focused upon what we can do to leverage the things that worked well and to minimize the negative influences on overall response.

I’ll bet this scenario sounds familiar because you’re likely having this type of meeting on a regular basis.

Disciplined performance analysis and pursuit of lift is important. Equally vital is wisely determining the causation to the drivers of both success and failure. To the best of our ability, we seek to avoid misinterpreting what contributes to the results of our work and making costly subsequent decisions from false data.

As a successful example of this principle, in a post-campaign review session we were able to diagnose that an uncommonly low response rate to a direct mail communication was largely influenced by the type of postage, media mail rate, that was used to deliver that particular mailing. As a result, the team could address the issue of mail delivery head-on and have a healthy dialog about which segments of their file should receive their mailings via different postage priority. This led to additional productive discussions about the composition of the mailing, the effectiveness of the appeal by segment, etc.

Elsewhere, I have witnessed knee-jerk reactions made without proper analysis and, despite our counsel, they simply ceased the direct mail program because the short-term results weren’t performing to expectations. The long-term pain on the back end of that decision has been acute for the organization.

The reality is that some things, like how quickly the USPS delivers our mail, are more out of our control than they are in our control. Our challenge and goal should be to understand the difference.

Being willing to work hard to hone-in on the things that we control and then to mitigate the negative aspects of the things that we do not is some of the most complex and nuanced, but most rewarding, work we do.

It takes far more time, research, experience, and communication to discern the true drivers to success and failure of our work. And it takes effective leadership to help your team navigate the waters of what the data is telling us.

I love that we at Dunham+Company have the privilege of helping partners identify those drivers and make the most effective decisions possible to advance your mission and His Kingdom.

Don’t shy away from the challenging work of performance analysis. The answers are in there, and we’ll find them together. Let us know how we can help through the process.


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